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Study: Women Are Leaving STEM Because It Depresses Them

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Grace Carr Reporter

Women are leaving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions because they aren’t happy with the work and find it depressing, according to a study examining the relationship between work satisfaction factors and a woman’s likelihood to leave the profession.

The study articulates that women aren’t leaving the STEM field because men are pushing them out or because bosses are discriminating against them, but because they don’t like the work, according to Campus Reform Thursday

The study, published by the University of Missouri in the Journal of Career Development, examined a number of factors influencing work satisfaction for women working in STEM. The study collected data on 249 women who had worked 11.51 years on average in STEM. The researchers studied the relationship between perfectionism, depression and stigma consciousness in order to determine how likely women were to exit the field of STEM.

Depression, as well as perfectionistic high standards required by the nature of the work, greatly predicted work happiness, according to the study. Lack of comparable pay did not affect women’s engagement with their work. (RELATED: $57 Million Will Go To Colleges For ‘Inclusive Excellence’ STEM Diversity Initiatives)

A year ago, Rutgers University social psychology professor Dr. Lee Jussim argued in his July Psychology Today op-ed that women qualified to enter STEM aren’t doing so because they prefer more people-oriented professions.

The professor backed up his claim by citing a study of more than 1,000 high school students revealing that boys were more than twice as likely as girls to excelling in math even though girls scored 70 percent higher in mathematical and verbal aptitude. “People should choose the fields they want to be in,” Jussim told Campus Reform. “Everything does not have to be perfectly equal all the time.”

Pew Research Center Jan. 9 study polled more than 4,900 workers in the U.S. and found that 19 percent of men reported experiencing gender discrimination at work while 50 percent of women reported discrimination.

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